It's not often that kid-appropriate songs are also ones that parents can groove to, but October is that special time of year. Maybe it's because of the nostalgic value of creepy Halloween tunes, or maybe it's just because some Halloween music actually rocks (hi, Michael Jackson), but cheesy monster-themed songs are pretty much amazing no matter how old you are.
Whether you want music to accompany your candy handouts or are planning a fun Halloween bash, get ready to set the atmosphere in your house with our picks of the top 18 Halloween party songs for kids.
3. "Monster Mash" — Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers
You can’t have a Halloween party without including this song in the mix. It was actually No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 1962 and has remained a Halloween favorite ever since — or should we say it's a graveyard smash?
4. "Thriller" — Michael Jackson
The '80s were a gold mine for great Halloween songs — and of course, Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" tops the list. Tell your kids that before Twilight, True Blood or the The Walking Dead, this greatness was what we had. Although the video is too scary for younger kids, teens will probably get a kick out of the now-antiquated effects that turn MJ into a werewolf. This song is a must on your Halloween playlist.
5. "Ghostbusters" — Ray Parker Jr.
The Ghostbusters theme song, sung by Ray Parker, Jr., has become a Halloween staple since the movie of the same name hit theaters in 1984. (It stars Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, which means we don't need to tell you it would also make a fun Halloween family movie night.)
6. "A Nightmare on my Street" — D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
Remember when Will Smith was a rapper? If you are a kid of the '80s, you will totally remember this song — and you will probably know all the lyrics, as well. Your teen may not know exactly who Freddy Krueger is, but they hopefully won’t mind when you sing along to this catchy tune based on the 1988 hit movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
Next up: "I Want Candy"
Originally published October 2013. Updated September 2017.
7. "I Want Candy" — Aaron Carter
This song was originally written and sung by The Strangeloves in 1965; however, it's since been covered by several artists, including Bow Wow Wow and Aaron Carter. The song is actually about a girl named Candy, but we think it works equally well for a kid’s Halloween bash — after all, isn't candy the main attraction of this spooky and fun holiday?
8. "Purple People Eater" — Sheb Wooley
Who doesn’t like a “one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater?” This song hit No. 1 in 1958 — and remains a fun Halloween classic today.
9. "Addams Family Theme"
The Addams Family is more kooky than creepy, which is why we love the group of characters in the family made up of Morticia, Gomez, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Wednesday and Thing. The theme song for the TV series was written by composer Vic Mizzy and is a must-have on your Halloween playlist.
10. "Headless Horseman" — from Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow sung by Bing Crosby
It’s hard to get too scared when listening to Bing Crosby's soothing voice. Still, the song “Headless Horseman” from Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow plays an important role in the truly spooky animated short. Released 1949, this classic tune never gets old.
11. "This is Halloween" — from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
For a more modern Halloween song, you might like “This is Halloween” from Tim Burton’s slightly strange and cool movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. This song is written by Danny Elfman and has been covered by both Marilyn Manson and Panic! At the Disco.
Next up: "Witch Doctor"
12. "Witch Doctor"
This song was originally performed by David Seville in 1958 and has been covered multiple times; our favorite might well be the Alvin and the Chipmunks version. Just be prepared for "Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang" to be stuck in your head all day.
13. "Hedwig's Theme" — from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
For those who love Harry Potter and want to recreate Hogwarts at their own party, playing the Harry Potter theme song, aka "Hedwig’s Theme," would make the perfect addition to your Halloween party.
14. "Twelve Days of Halloween"
Looking for new Halloween songs? Your kids might love "Twelve Days of Halloween," which is set to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." This song is by Nooshi and is from the weird but wonderful album Halloween Songs to Christmas Melodies, which is available on iTunes.
15. "Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid)" — Fall Out Boy ft. Missy Elliott
The latest Ghostbusters movie was a pretty big deal, and this fun and energetic song from the soundtrack doesn't disappoint. While it might not be the same Ghostbusters theme that we knew and loved in the '80s, it still makes for great kids' party music — while being kind of spooky at the same time.
16. "I'm in Love with a Monster" — Fifth Harmony
This bumpin' song from Hotel Transylvania 2 might truly be one of the least annoying on the list. And it's a good thing, too — because Fifth Harmony's jam is so catchy, you're probably going to be humming the tune under your breath for weeks.
17. "I Put a Spell on You" — Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Kids will love that Screamin' Jay Hawkins has an authentic monster-like quality to his voice (à la Vincent Price), and parents will love the old-school saxophone solo. It's a spooky song that's super-fun to play in the background during Halloween party games.
18. "Somebody's Watching Me" — Rockwell
It's not "Thriller," but this Rockwell/Michael Jackson collaboration is a surefire way to get any party started. There's just something about '80s music that gets kids dancing, and the creepy lyrics of "Somebody's Watching Me" coupled with the ghostly synthesizers make this a perfect Halloween favorite.